Daddy Smurf Syndrome

The Smurfs (originally Les Schtroumpfs in French) are a fictional group of small sky blue creatures who live somewhere in the forests of medieval Europe.

Papa Smurf is the leader of the Smurfs who can be easily distinguished from the other smurfs by his red clothes and his bushy white beard.  Everyone in Smurf Village turns to Papa Smurf when things go pear-shaped.  Papa Smurf is very skillful in making magical spells and potions.

In the business world Daddy Smurf is the typical manager that overprotects his team, even if they are clearly underperforming or they are acting careless.

Usually Daddy Smurf is the founder of the company that has had successful growth.  Some of the people in his team are not able to cope with the new challenge of a larger company and he is not able to push them to move forward or lift the company.

This also applies to many middle managers.  They usually think that being a colleague instead of a manager is the right thing to do.  So they allow people to continue being lazy or slow or show all kinds of incompetence in order to maintain the “good mood”.

The worst case of this type of managers is the “happy chappy”  manager.  Everything is all right, every thing is fine.  He/She is probably the most novice manager that you can find in your professional life.  You are going to feel good, you are going to do great and your reviews are going to be gorgeous!  However, you will be living a dream.  He/She will not allow you to know how to improve yourself knowing the weaknesses you have in your management skills and reinforce these positively.

In their defense they will argue that they have a low staff turnover, a positive environment and a constructive attitude.  Nevertheless, the results of these teams are usually poor or far below the average.

The real manager is able to get the best from his team, challenging them with positivity, coaching them in difficult tasks without an over protective and unrealistic attitude.

It is very easy to be Daddy Smurf.  However it is very difficult to be a good manager that leads people to obtain the best from them. What kind of manager are you?

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